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Coughs for more than three weeks could be a warning sign

Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in England

Posted on: 17 October 2023

Most coughs are probably nothing serious, but you should see your GP if you have a persistent cough that won’t go away.

About 40,000 lung cancer cases are diagnosed each year. Around 89% of those cases are with people aged 60 and over.

In 2020, around 27,000 people died from lung cancer in England. 

If you have a friend or family member who has been coughing for three weeks or more, encourage them to contact their GP practice, especially if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • Chest infections that keep coming back
  • Coughing up blood
  • A long-standing cough that gets worse
  • An ache or pain when breathing or coughing 
  • Persistent breathlessness 
  • Persistent tiredness or lack of energy 
  • Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss 

Don’t wait to see if a cough resolves on its own if it has been more than three weeks. Make an appointment with your GP.

Finding cancer early makes it more treatable and can save lives.

For more information on cancer signs and symptoms, visit